Wine Tasting Like the Experts (Without Being One)

Why just taste your wine, when you can engage your senses and elevate your wine tasting experience. Whether you are having a casual glass with friends, enjoying it with a special meal or attending a formal tasting, you can enjoy it like an expert!  Make your next wine tasting experience memorable and more rewarding by following these 5 (8)



Observe the wine as it is poured into your glass. Holding the glass against a white background – a tablecloth or even your sleeve both work like a charm. Just like a diamond, you’ll want to take note of its color and clarity. Is the wine clear and brilliant or cloudy and dull?

White wines aren’t really white. Depending on the grape, the color can vary from clear to light green, may be yellow or even a golden amber. White wines gain color as they age.

Red wines can range from a bright, ruby red to a flatter a bright red. Unlike their white counterparts, red wines tend to lose color as they age and could ultimately turn brown.

Consider this opportunity a glimpse into the rest of your wine tasting experience.


Continuing on the visual journey, swirl your wine. To swirl it, hold the glass gently by its stem to avoid heating the wine. As you do, take note of the way the wine settles off the side of your glass. The wine dropping is known as legs or tears and are very telling about the type of wine you will soon be tasting.

Thin legs that quickly drop are typically lighter, less concentrated wines.

Larger tears are indicative of a more robust wine that is infused with sweetness and fruitier notes.

Swirling wine also exposes it to the air, thus providing an oxidizing effect. This will intensify the flavors as well as the aroma (more on that in the next step).


Ah, the aroma! You’ll want to really put your nose into your glass for this step and enjoy the scent of your wine. Did you know that 85% of taste is derived from your sense of smell?

Every glass is different. The most common scents found include notes of fruit, spices, herbs and even flowers. It is not uncommon for different people to pick up different scents from the same bottle, however, many wine varieties carry similar scents.

Chardonnay – Vanilla, tropical fruit and honey are most commonly noticed.

Sauvignon Blanc –  You will likely find notes of grass, citrus and pear.

Merlot – Berries, chocolate and coffee top the scents more often recognized.

If you smell vinegar, cork or sulfur, you may want to put the glass down and try something different. These scents are indicative of a potential issue with the wine. Let your host know and get their opinion, too.


The moment you have been waiting for. Don’t rush this step! Your tongue is a complex body part and will pick up on the various attributes of the wine.

Tip of your tongue will detect the sweetness of the wine.

Inner sides of your tongue will realize the sour notes.

The outer sides of your tongue will notice the saltiness of the glass.

The back of your tongue will discover the bitterness of your selection.

Once you’ve taken that sip, swish it around in your mouth and hold it there for a few seconds before moving on to the final step.  This is known as “chewing” your wine. Be sure you take a liberal sip to ensure you get the full impact of flavors in your wine selection.

Swallow or Spit

How you handle the final step, arguably the best, is really up to you.

If you are enjoying the taste of the wine in your mouth, swallow it. As you do, take note of the aftertaste. Higher quality wines will lead to a more defined finish that will linger.

If you aren’t a fan of the wine’s taste in your mouth, then by all means spit it out. This is perfectly acceptable at a wine tasting. Save those calories for a glass you will enjoy. If you’re enjoying the glass in a more casual manner, spitting is not recommended.

Next Glass

Ready to enjoy a different type of wine? You’ll want to cleanse your palate before you do. Easiest way to do so is by enjoying a plain cracker and a few sips of tepid water. Then prepare to enjoy your next taste of wine!

Enjoy your wine tasting experience and remember the number 1 rule…..DON’T RUSH. Savor each sip!  


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Doukénie Winery
14727 Mountain Road
Purcellville, VA 20132 | (540) 668-6464 |

Doukénie Winery is above all else a family operation located in Loudoun County, DC’s Wine Country. Nestled at the base of the Short Hill Mountains you will find our 520-acre vineyard that includes a pond and picnic area. From the moment you step through the door of the tasting room, you will feel the hospitality of the Bazaco family.

George Bazaco Doukénie Winery

About George Bazaco Doukénie Winery

Owner |George Bazaco | Doukénie Winery | Following in family footsteps, George and his wife Nicki purchased the first track of land in Loudoun County in 1981, that is now Doukénie Winery. The Bazaco's decided to plant their first vineyard in 1986. The winemaking business came later as the winery itself was constructed in 1995. Today, Doukénie welcomes visitors 7 days a week, year round to sample their award-winning wines in their well appointed tasting room that boasts amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.